It’s difficult sometimes to find the words you’re looking for. Especially when arguing on the internet: it’s all too easy to reach for the language of the playground, call someone an imbecile (or a bitch or a slag or gay or pretty much any insult you’ve ever learned) only to find that the person you’d intended to insult didn’t care, while you’ve inadvertently offended an entire segment of the population.
Because racially loaded terms are so broadly unacceptable, you rarely see them online (I acknowledge that as a white woman I’m less likely to see them as they’re less likely to be used at me). Racist arguments are another story, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen someone use a racial pejorative as an insult. But sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and ableist insults are ten-a-penny. “That’s gay” “That’s lame” “You bitch” “Stupid bastard” – we hear these so frequently that they go almost unheard. Tom Harris MP recently tweeted “What a hero! Fearless protester chucks an egg at EdM and runs away. Like a girl. Throws like a girl too.” His intended insult (to the egg-thrower) was insulting to women everywhere as he implied that weakness and cowardice were feminine traits. The shitstorm that he deserved never happened, because we just accept these sorts of things as normal.
I’ve been trying to eliminate -isms from my insults. (That is not the same as trying to eliminate insults from my speech, which is an entirely different thing.) But if I call Tom Harris MP a bastard for his tweet, what do I achieve? I imply that his mother was sexually promiscuous – that’s an insult to women who have premarital sex, not an insult to him. If I call him a moron, I don’t insult him but the thousands of people who have learning disabilities and to whom that word is applied without jest. (Ditto retard, and yes it is cheating to disguise the word by using ‘fucktard’ or worse, ‘mongtard.’)
So here is my guide to politically correct insults, for when you absolutely have to tell someone what you think of them but would prefer not to insult innocent bystanders for their race, sex, sexuality, or disability.
Step 1: Take any of the following adjectives (or pick your own):
Fucking, flatulent, stenchworthy, ignorant, asshatted, smug
Step 2: Combine with an insult formed of one word from List 1 and one word from List 2.
|List 1||List 2|
Not all of these will work perfectly together, but pissweasel, cockwomble, and gitwizard are good combinations. Experiment: random monosyllabic words and random amusing two syllable words go together well. And voila: your perfect PC insult.